Friday, June 25, 2010
Ladakh - Day 7 - Basgo & Spitok
It was getting dark because of the clouds and there were 2 more places for the day. The first one was Basgo.
From a distance, the place looked very desolate and forlorn.
We drove up to the foot of the ruins of the fort situated in the midst of reddish brown earth protruding in interesting formations.
We climbed up and into the fort and there wasn’t a living being in sight. Searching, crying out for a monk who might show us the Gompas did not get us anywhere.
I had to be content with the few pictures of the surroundings.
Until 16th century, before King Sengge Namgyal and rise of Leh, Basgo was a seat of power. The fort and palace are now in ruins but 300 years ago, it was an almost impregnable bastion. Three maitreya temples are now being restored by the world monument fund listing them as endangered historical structures.
That’s one thing common to most monasteries.
The lamas turn out to be quite ignorant about the history and legend of the place. The Gompas remain open only a few hours every day.
Though it was closing time for all Gompas we decided to go to Spitok and try our luck anyway.
The drive to the Spitok took us through a winding road. The clouds were lifting and the sun gradually came into view. The light softened by clouds fell on the valley and we saw that from the coordinates of our position in space and time, the cross section of Ladakh presented looked like several layers or cross sections thrown in to overlap with each other. Mountains criss-crossed fading away at infinity.
We reached Spitok - built on a craggy hill, it overlooks Leh airport. It is supposed to be among the most beautifully sited monasteries of Ladakh.
Between themselves the setting sun and clouds divided the earth below into pieces upon which to cast their light and shadow. This will remain one of my special photographs.
This must be the airport.